Sony ups its motion-detection game with Softkinetic buy

Softkinetic's time-of-flight sensors can be used to add gestural control to game consoles, cars and mobile devices

Sony has snapped up Softkinetic Systems, a Belgian developer of distance- and motion-detecting cameras and sensors, it said Thursday.

Softkinetic uses a technique called time-of-flight measurement to determine the distance of an object from a sensor, or different parts of an object from a camera, by bouncing packets of photons off it.

The Kinect sensor for Microsoft's Xbox One console already uses the technique to identify players and recognize gestures to control games.

Sony, on the other hand, still requires two cameras for the gesture detection in its PlayStation 4 Camera controller, and uses computationally intensive stereoscopic vision techniques to pick out players from their background.

The acquisition of Softkinetic will make it easier for Sony to incorporate time-of-flight technology in a future game console controller -- but the technology has many more applications.

Because time-of-flight depth sensors do not require stereoscopic cameras widely separated in space, they can be much more compact -- small enough for inclusion in mobile devices such as phones.

They also have applications in cars, where they can be used to control entertainment systems by gesture, without requiring the driver to look away from the road to find physical buttons.

In March Softkinetic demonstrated a US$99 add-on to the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, enabling VR applications to incorporate gesture control by measuring the distance to headset wearers' hands with a 3D depth-sensing camera.

Sony said it plans to combine Softkinetic's expertise in range sensors with its own imaging technologies to develop new sensors, not just for imaging, but for broader sensing-related applications, suggesting that it has an eye on markets such as gesture control or 3D scanning.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags sonyvirtual reality3D scanning

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?